Another Word (or Several) About Michael Peroutka

Six months ago we warned you about the theocratic, reactionary views of Institute on the Constitution founder Michael Anthony Peroutka and his spokesman John Lofton.

At the time he was considering and Maryland Republican officials were talking to Peroutka about running for Attorney General.  Now Peroutka is the Republican nominee for the Anne Arundel County Council in District 5, and the Anthony Brown campaign, for lack of any real arguments, is trying to make Peroutka an issue in the gubernatorial race.  Larry Hogan did the right thing and quickly disavowed Peroutka.  The Brown campaign deceitfully used the word “disassociate,” which connotes a previous association where none existed.

Unfortunately, some passive aggressive pundits, with a bowl of sour grapes from the primary still sitting on their table, are buying the bag of magic beans hawked by the IOTC and embracing Peroutka to take a swipe at Hogan. They are either ignorant of the full measure of Peroutka’s views or deliberately omitting it.

Peroutka states he holds a traditional “American View” of government that there is a God, the God of the Bible, and that our Rights come from Him, and that the purpose of civil government is to secure our rights.” Fine nothing wrong with that. It’s somewhat straight out of the Declaration of Independence where Jefferson laid out the natural law theory of rights where we are all “endowed by our Creator” with inalienable rights life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and that governments are instituted among men to secure those rights.

HOWEVER, an analysis of Peroutka’s “American View” cannot end there, because there is much more to the story. 

From our original warning:

Here is video of Peroutka speaking at the League of the South’s annual convention, thanking its president Michael Hill and board members for his appointment/election and pledging the resources of the IOTC and the Peroutka family to the League of the South.

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On its FAQ page The League of the South says in part that its mission is “to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people by all honourable means,” through legal secession.   The League also seeks to protect the “Anglo-Celtic core population and culture of the South”

Should that not be enough to convince you of what the League of the South stands for, here is League president Michael Hill in his own words:

The survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people. And by “the Southern people,” we mean White Southerners who are not afraid to stand for the people of their race and region. In other words, we understand what it is to be an historic “nation”–a specific people with a unique culture living on a particular piece of land. And, God willing, we shall one day have a name and place among the nations of the earth.”
Here’s Peroutka speaking about his IOTC course to the League of the South:

Here’s the kicker

We have a basic Constitution course, now again I don’t disagree with Dr. Hill at all, that this regime is beyond reform. I think that’s an obvious fact and I agree with him. However, I do agree that when you secede, or however the destruction and the rubble of this regime takes place and how it plays out, you’re going to need to take a biblical worldview and apply it to civil law and government. That’s what you’re still going to need to do. Whether we’re going to have to have this foundational information in the hearts and minds of the people, or else liberty won’t survive the secession either. You see what I’m saying? So this view, I saying that because I don’t want the League of the South, for one minute to think that I am about reforming the current regime, and that studying the Constitution is about reforming the regime. I like many of you, and like Patrick Henry, probably have come to the conclusion that we smelled a rat, smelled a rat from the beginning. However, we believe that it is essential to take a biblical view of law and government and then make those applications so we publish actually three courses of instruction. 

Sounds like Peroutka is four square behind secession. Smelled a rat? Like Patrick Henry? Is Peroutka interested in upholding our current constitutional order, or does he as the League of the South does, want a new order based on his biblical beliefs?
Of course, that’s just Peroutka’s view on civil government.

Peroutka and his spokesman John Lofton’s theological mentor is the late Rousas Rushdoony, is the founder of Christian Reconstructionism.  Lofton’s Facebook profile picture is a photo of Rushdoony, and his writings and views are plastered all over the IOTC website. 

The IOTC website directs readers to this 1988 interview Rushdoony did with Bill Moyers.  


Moyers: You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty, and I’m just running down a variety of things as you can see. You’ve written that the Bible calls for the death penalty of some 15 crimes: rape, sodomy, adultery.
Rushdoony: Adultery because in the Bible the basic institution is the family. There’s no law of treason against the state. The Bible doesn’t even imagine anything remotely like that. But the basic institution is the family. And so, several of the death penalties are associated with the family and its life.
Moyers: So adultery was considered a theft of the family.
Rushdoony: It was, yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Homosexuality.
Rushdoony: Yes, it was treason to the family.
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: What?
Moyers: Worthy of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes.
Moyers: Deserving of the death sentence?
Rushdoony: Yes, that’s what Paul says.

… Moyers: But you would re-instate the death penalty for some of these or all of these Biblical crimes?
Rushdoony: I wouldn’t—
Moyers: But the reconstructive society–
Rushdoony: I’m saying that this is what God requires. I’m not saying that everything in the Bible, I like. Some of it rubs me the wrong way. But I’m simply saying, this is what God requires. This is what God says is justice. Therefore, I don’t feel I have a choice.
Moyers: And the agents of God would carry out the laws.
Rushdoony: The civil government would, on these things.
Moyers: So you would have a civil government, based upon–
Rushdoony: Oh yes. I’m not an anarchist. I’m close to being a libertarian. But–
Moyers: But the civil law would be based on the biblical law. And so you’d have a civil government carrying out a religious mandate.
Rushdoony: Oh yes.

The father of Lofton and Peroutka’s core philosophy believes in a civil government who’s first duty is to carry out a religious mandate to do what God requires as written in the Old Testament, including executions for adulterers and homosexuals.   

I contend that Rushdoony’s views of civil government are just as statist as any progressive. Lofton claims that his biblical or “American View” of government would mean a smaller government. Maybe, but that doesn’t mean its scope would be smaller or that it would infringe upon the God-given rights of those citizens whom it agents deem have violated biblical law. Who wants to live under a government that has the authority to execute adulterers?

Simply put a biblical view of civil government does not immunize its self-appointed mandarins from the statist temptation. 

Much like the progressives who envision a technocratic utopia run by enlightened government bureaucrats, Peroutka and Lofton, as their theological mentor Rushdoony did, envision a society with a civil government executing Biblical mandates—as interpreted and determined by men like them.

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